A Tax Guide for Actors and Entertainers

Tax Expenses

For many actors and entertainers, being able to make money from something they have a passion for can be a very liberating experience; no more of the daily grind in order to make ends meet. However, when it comes to your tax and accounting, there is every reason to treat your entertainment activities as seriously as you would do any other business.

Are Actors Self Employed?

If you are an independent actor or entertainer, it is likely that you would come under the bracket of self-employed, as a sole trader. In this scenario, it is essential that you operate like any good business, keeping accurate records and updating your books.

The plus side of having your own entertainment business is that there are many outlays which are potentially tax-deductible, and you should take a careful note of these in order to take full advantage.

The law states that you can claim expenses incurred for business purposes, “wholly and exclusively”. Every business is different and the types of expenses entertainers and actors will claim vary. Ultimately, expenses can be claimed on items that are solely for the purpose of your entertainment work. These can also be services such as agents and managers, accountants and advertising agencies.

Let’s look closer at the expenses you might incur as an actor and entertainer, and see which might apply to you.

Alexander & Co: Accountants for Actors and Entertainers

The fees you pay to a manager or agent can count as expenses, as can any commission which you pay them on top of the usual fees. If you are going away on tour, travel and living expenses may come into the reckoning, as well as any props, stage equipment or costumes you might use while performing. Cleaning and laundry of any of these items which you use as part of a performance can also fall under the expenses bracket.

Financially, charges from your accountancy firms can be considered expenses, as can charges on any business accounts which might be in your name. If you have a mobile telephone account that you use for business, this too can be on the list of items you can expect to claim expenses on.

Be aware that some expenses are counted as ‘dual purpose’ – i.e. they are used for both personal and business activities. In this case, you are usually only permitted to claim expenses on the business share of such items of services, and will be expected to provide proof.

The golden rule is to keep a record of all your expenses, before you sit down to ascertain which might be tax-deductible